Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Free money

I get paid mostly in cash.

Sometimes I get a little careless or forgetful about counting it up and stashing it away.

This morning, about to leave for work, I found on my desk - amid the morass of teaching notes, business cards, half-read listings magazines, flyers for art openings I missed a month or two since, etc. - an unremarkable brown envelope. Unremarkable, but for the fact that it had 800 kuai in it (a bit over $100 - quite a useful sum of money over here). I have no idea now when or where or how I earned it or how long it has lain neglected on my desk - but it was a very pleasant surprise. Particularly as I was running dangerously short of readies, and was beginning to contemplate a spell of self-imposed 'house arrest' as my only means of avoiding an embarrassing cashflow crisis.

It's not often you get these "gifts from the gods". I remember even as a very young child being fascinated, entranced, positively enamoured with the "Bank error in your favour" card in the Monopoly set. Perhaps I caught some of the bitter wisdom in my parents' eyes whenever this came up - "As if the error ever goes in that direction in real life!" they smiled to each other sadly.

Today, though, I prefer to think of this unexpected bounty as a visitation from the Tooth Fairy. The senile old bitch has suddenly realised that she short-changed me once when I was a kid, and is now belatedly making amends for that decades-old delinquency, paying me back with interest.

Thank you, old girl. I am truly grateful. I take back the "senile old bitch" remark. I just got a bit carried away for a moment.

Now..... what shall I spend it on?


Tulsa said...

That is fun. Though the comment about the toothfairy was a little harsh.

as kids, it was always fun discovering forgotten lunch money in winter coat pockets. As fall turned into winter, we'd pull out our coats from the backs of the closet and the next morning, hands in pocket, we'd realize there was something in there that was not our mitten.

Caren said...

When I was unpacking my suitcase I found 500 kuai and $400, and had no memory of packing it. I wanted to make sure money was hidden away while traveling. Well it was hidden so well, I forgot I had it.

How's Beijing? I am missing China; how sad's that? I've only been gone a week!!

Tulsa said...


You must have very good hearing, because China was remembering you just last night and wondering how y'all are doing State-side.

$400 is sweeeet. My lunch money never added up to that.

Caren said...


I so owe you & Paul emails! I miss China, yes I dooooo. But not the spitting or the babies peeing on the sidewalks.